Hanover School Board to vote on transgender bathroom, locker room policy end of August

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT
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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The Hanover County School Board office was packed once again Tuesday night as the board first read its proposed transgender bathroom and locker room policy for students.

The public commenting started with the school board chair, John Axselle, telling the crowd that because of the number of speakers signed up, another public comment period on the proposed policy will happen again Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.

“We’re announcing that we’re going to have a public comment period, an additional public comment period regarding the restroom and locker room policy on Aug. 16,” Axselle said.

Despite the additional meeting, parents and families did not hold back on how they felt about the process.

“We’re struggling to find bus drivers, teachers, and just staff the damn school, and you wanna add a process that’s going to take three months or more,” A speaker said. “They don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for this. You’re oppressing the already oppressed.”

The proposal states, “If a student who identifies as transgender requests access to restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities that align with their gender identity but not their sex, the following process will be utilized to evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.”

In addition, the proposal outlines the information a student, along with their parent or legal guardian, must submit to school administration along with a written request to the principal of the school where the student attends.

The proposal outlines the information as the following:

  • A statement from the student that, among other things, specifies their gender identity and how they have consistently, persistently and insistently expressed that identity
  • Signed statements from the student’s personal physician, therapist or licensed counselor verifying that the student has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and/or that the student consistently and authentically expresses a binary gender identity
  • Statements from the student’s parent or guardian;
  • Student disciplinary or criminal records
  • Information related to the privacy and safety of other students
  • Any other relevant information, including documents from other interested parties.

Once this information is collected, the school’s principal will provide a written summary of this request and the supporting documents. This would all be considered by the school board, who would have “final authority to approve or decline the request.”

For access to locker rooms and changing facilities, students and their families would follow the same process used to consider requests for restrooms. The proposal outlines additional items the school board must consider.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, some told the board they felt strongly about the proposed policy.

“Regarding the first of the new bathroom and locker room policy, the majority of Hanover County supports parental rights and safe bathrooms for all students, and this policy does both of those things,” a speaker said.

The board is expected to vote on the policy at its Aug. 30 meeting.

Speakers Tuesday night also expressed their concerns and embarrassment for a recent t-shirt design that looked like a Nazi symbol.

Some asked the board to dive deeper into how the t-shirt was approved.

“I would like the school board to open an investigation into who designed the symbol, who approved the use of the symbol, and who are responsible for printing it on the shirts,” a speaker said.

The board did not discuss Tuesday night if an investigation would happen.

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